I’m not a big fan of the razzmatazz,
No glitz or glam, no bright-red shiny nails,
Or glittery gold objects for pizzazz.
In jeans and t-shirt I’m a fashion fail.
The red carpet its hungry cameras.
Bright lights and renown? Not what I have sought.
Fame, flash and fortune are just chimeras.
Making is the magic; it can’t be bought.
The muses work in ways that no one sees.
Ideas come in solitary walks,
Away from human noise, on foot, on skis,
Under clouds and sky, inspiration talks.
A fancy suit hangs in my closet, draped
In plastic — the symbol of less free days.
This poem was kind of inspired by an appointment I made to see the eye doctor, a new eye doctor. When I called, he answered the phone. He kept saying, “I know I know you. I’ve heard your name, anyway. Where?”
Finally I said, “Well, I was famous in 2019.”
“What do you mean you were famous?”
“I wrote a book about teaching in China. There were a couple of articles in the paper and I did two interviews on the radio. Maybe that’s where.”
“That could be it, yeah.”
I honestly LOVED saying, “I was famous in 2019.” It just cracked me up.
The poem is a Shakespearean sonnet, though I’m not a fetishist about iambic pentameter since it’s the natural rhythm of the English language anyway. Iambic pentameter is ba-BOOM, ba-BOOM for ten syllables. A Shakespearean sonnet is 14 lines with the scheme of ababcdcdefefgg. It’s easy for a dyslexic person like me who’s likely to mess up the rhyme scheme if it has too many variables. The story is that Shakespeare wrote his sonnets like this because the traditional Italian sonnet (the Petrarchan sonnet) is immensely challenging in English because of the natural rhythm of English vs. the natural rhythm of Italian. I don’t know if this is true or not but I’m buying it anyway.